Commissions and Awards Among Graduate Composers' Recent Accomplishments

Paul Novak (left) and Justin Weiss (right)


Our graduate student composers achieved numerous impressive accomplishments this year, including winning commissions, awards, and more. Congratulations to Paul Novak on being awarded a 2023 Barlow Endowment Commission, and to Justin Weiss whose work has been nominated for the Tremplin Musical 2023. Continue reading below to learn more about these accomplishments.

Paul Novak: 

Paul Novak has been awarded a 2023 Barlow Endowment Commission for his work for Balourdet Quartet, which is currently the group in residence at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Balourdet Quartet has received the Grand Prize at the 2021 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, as well as top prizes in international competitions including the Banff, Premio Paolo Borciani, Carl Nielsen, Fischoff, and Yellow Springs Competitions. Novak was featured in the Washington Post's "23 for '23 : Composers and Performers to Watch this Year," where he was praised for his "impressive range and restless energy" in a catalog spanning "lithe, elastic vocal pieces...vibrant orchestral works...and evocative etudes for string quartet." Paul is currently a PhD student here at the University of Chicago, where he studies with Augusta Read Thomas. 

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Justin Weiss: 

Justin Weiss' work ‘Multitudes' for orchestra, performed by Civic Orchestra of Chicago has been nominated for the Tremplin Musical 2023 by a member of the Musical Council of The Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco. Justin is currently a PhD Fellow in Composition at the University of Chicago where he studies with Augusta Read Thomas. Justin is also the conductor for the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble. As a conductor, Justin has performed with the VICE Ensemble, Oberlin Sinfonietta and Contemporary Music Ensemble, the soundSCAPE Sinfonietta, and has premiered dozens of new works internationally. Justin studied conducting with Tim Weiss (Oberlin) and Sian Edwards (Royal Academy).

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